Having lost in court, Republicans hope to make health care an election issue
Democrats say they relish having that fight as White House looks to put it in past
GOP-controlled House wants to vote for repeal after its Fourth of July recess
Democrats highlight more popular parts of health care plan as part of debate
You can’t go higher than the high court. So, the way the White House figures it, health care is the law of the land. Period.
“It’s time now to get over the debate and to implement the law,” White House chief of staff Jack Lew told me on “State of the Union” on Sunday.
The problem is that settled law is one thing. Settled politics is an oxymoron.
CEO and former Republican California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina said on “State of the Union” that the GOP “from Mitt Romney on down” will make health care a “front-and-center” issue from now till November.
“It is not separate from the economy,” Fiorina said.
“Bring it on,” said Democratic former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
“It is part of the economy argument,” Fiorina continued. “Secondly, I find it amazing when the governor and others in her party just dismiss the difference between a state having a plan and the federal government having a plan. There is all the difference in the world.”
“Supreme Court just dismissed that argument,” Granholm retorted.
Across the Sunday talk shows, the health care debate moved from the stately and secretive chambers of the Supreme Court and back across the street where it began – the hallowed, divided halls of Congress.
“This has to be ripped out by its roots,” House Speaker John Boehner said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “This is government taking over the entire health insurance industry. The American people do not want to go down this path.”
After the Fourth of July recess, the House plans to vote on repeal of the health care law – to blow it up. Even the popular parts, like banning insurance companies from setting lifetime caps on benefits or refusing coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
That’s why, even though repeal will pass the House because Republicans dominate there, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is still smiling.
“Repeal of all the things, I said, that help children, help young adults, help seniors, help men or women who may have prostate cancer, breast cancer, whatever it is, any precondition. And everybody will have lower rates, better quality care and better access. So that’s what they want to repeal, we’re happy to have that debate,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Pelosi can afford to be mellow – she and everybody else know repeal will never pass the Democratic-majority Senate.
Speaking of which, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell may be in the minority now, but he happened to mention on Sunday that November could change things.
“If I’m the leader of the majority, I commit to the American people that the repeal of Obamacare will be Job 1,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “By the way, I think we will also be insisting we have a vote before the election. In terms of achieving it, it would take a different president, different majority leader.”
Which brings us to where the Supreme Court justices really sent the health care debate.
“It’s beyond Congress, the president and even the Supreme Court,” Rep. Paul Ryan said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The American people will be the judge and jury of this law come November.”
Turns out, you can go higher than the high court.